I have been offered one of these. It looks to be just about complete except for the silencers, engine is A65D 18XX (or 19xx) and I have been told its a 65 model, it has a fairly small tank like a competition model. It needs some cosmetic attention but is running. I am not a BSA expert but my inclination is that this could be a fairly rare bike. I don't have a price as yet but would appreciate any expert knowledge out there....
The Lightning Rocket was built only for 2 years (64, 65). So not rare, but not common either.
There were a lot of changes during production and depending on market (US East vs. US West for example). And I am not sure the parts book has all of the variations. The small tank is likely the US spec tank, more valuable with the 4” badges.
These bikes are distinctly different than the 66 on bikes.
The LR does’t seem to command any premium in price. The 66 on bikes seem to be in higher demand.
I like the LR’s. Neat looking bikes. Nice bike to ride when sorted properly.
The one negative is the electrical system. It is overally complex due to coil switching. It works, but, IMO, not all that well. It can be updated to be like the later bikes.
Never underestimate the human ability to elevate stupid to a whole new level!.
I have a 64 LR, it's a pretty bike but parts books and manuals may be a bit puzzling for some. Like has been stated above, there were changes during production and not very well documented. I updated all the electrics on mine to more modern standards so it runs like a dream. Now if I could solve the leak from the speedometer cable fitting on the transmission all would be well. Anyway they are nice old bikes and fun to ride. You should be able to pick it up pretty reasonable, as rare doesn't always mean more valuable in this case at this time.
In addition to what has been written above, the Lightning Rocket was the precursor to the Lightning and the Thunderbolt Rocket was the precursor to the Thunderbolt, so both were fairly mainstream. BSA had a bewildering variety of A50 and A65 models in 1964-65, but reduced the range somewhat from 1966.
I have seen nice 65 Lightning Rockets commanding higher prices than 66-6 Lightnings. IMO they are more in testing because of the carry over features from the earlier bikes and you rarely see a nice one.
I APOLOGIZE FOR THE USE OF CAPS. I CAN ONLY TYPE WITH MY RIGHT HAND SO USING THE SHIFT KEY IS BEYOND MY CAPABILITES.
I have kept the original 6 volts electrics and become one with its foibles. But I have placed LED's front and rear and have a 7.2 volt Zener for to protect the Pazon ignition. The 19" rims work well if you keep the stock sizes (3.25 and 3.50 see Mr. Heidenau for these).
It is a beautiful bike worth keeping forever.
"Don't trust your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." - Mark Twain
I have both versions of dry frame twins.......3.50X19 and 4.00x18. IMO, the 3.50X19 bike turns better. Best way I can describe it.....it is more agile.
I had similar experience with my lil honda 4, i removed the more expensive 4.00-18 TT100 (K81) and fitted an 3.50-18 K82, taller tyre with narrower profile, it felt like it gripped better and cornered better too, although in that case It didn't seem as stable loaded up with camping gear at 70mph as it did with the fatter tyre, the A10 didn't give me that impression though.
I've just bought a rear QD hub for the A65, its looking like it won't be long before a tyre change on the rear, so will look at having it laced as a WM2-19
Best Handling A65 in my opinion. I think has something to do with the dropped triple clamp. Even with those 19'' tires it just seems to sit lower. 12 volt was an option Its my understanding the 64 Lighting Rocket was introduced to compete is sales to the Triumph Bonnevil
I recall reading a BSA factory bulletin regarding this leak. There is a spiral groove on the gear shaft. The way they cut the groove caused the shaft to pump out oil. They supplied a different shaft with the groove cut in the opposite direction so it would move the oil back toward the transmission case. I have never owned an A65 so I have not experienced this problem.
Update: The information I stated is on the BSA A7/A10 blog. Look for "Oil leak from speed cable" under the transmission tab. If you don't have access the information is in BSA Service Bulletin 74 dated Sept. 1960. It states you should change to driven gear bushing part number 65-3396 and Driven gear part number 67-3175
Last edited by bsalloyd; 12/11/187:09 pm. Reason: additional information included
1951 ZB GS 1953 BB GS 1953 Super Flash 1954 Vincent BS 1963 RGS 1956 Triumph T110
Actually I think mine has the spiral, and it works as long as you ride it. But after you park it for a few days or a week the lube starts to seep out again. As mine is parked for the winter I have a good size puddle under it. Just one of the things that give old bikes "character".
Yes original side covers. Actually all original except something is not right about the front fender. It was originally the blue color but was repainted in the mid 70's I believe. Very low miles 1400, and the engine has not been opened. The story I got was the original owner crashed it shortly after he bought it, the dealer got it roadworthy but the owner never picked it up. Two owners that did nothing but the repaint but no real riding for many years then I bought it and put back on the road. The engine runs great and it looks good (from 15-20ft) I'm happy.